NATO Chief Predicts Afghans Will Be In Control by 2014

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 11:55 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. will not make a hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, and has urged NATO allies not to rush out either.

Gates, who attended his final meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels Thursday, said substantial military progress is being made on the ground. He warned that those gains could be threatened if the transition to full Afghan government control of security is not made in a deliberate, organized and coordinated manner.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says operations in Afghanistan remain a “key operational priority” for the alliance and predicted the Afghan government will take full control of security by 2014.

The meeting in Brussels is addressing the scheduled drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan later this year, after a decade of establishing and defending a democratic government against the Taliban.

Gates steps down as defense secretary on June 30.